Holland Park Avenue

When this house in Notting Hill was bought by new owners, the back garden was just a slope of earth surrounded by four walls – and unusable. They wanted to create a peaceful oasis which they could look out at from their kitchen, eat in during the summer, and sit in and enjoy on sunny evenings.

Mark Lutyens levelled the garden into three terraces of different widths – and designed a charming geometric paving pattern using reclaimed bricks and cobblestones –  with easy shallow steps at the bottom – now ranged with lovely pots of scented geraniums. Catherine covered the brick walls and existing trellis with climbers: scented roses, Hydrangea petiolaris, wall-trained blue ceonothus and various clematis. Valerian (the white form) – so often found growing in walls and stony places – felt right – and was enlivened by purple Verbena bonariensis, Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ and the contrasting grey leaves of exotic Melianthus major. Luxuriant ferns were planted in shady corners. Mexican daisy seeded itself into the cracks and wall campanula was encouraged to drape itself across the back and over the top of the bench.

Catherine and Mark created a natural looking courtyard which feels like it has always been there – a quiet respite from the hubbub of Holland Park Avenue.